Now we know a lot more of the rest of the story when it comes to one BYU football player.
BYU football player Chaz Ah You was arrested on multiple charges in the middle of last month. Those charges included driving under the influence, reckless driving, unsafe lane travel, speeding and drinking in or about a vehicle. Ah You was pulled over Sunday afternoon after he was clocked doing 75 miles per hour in a 35 miles-per-hour zone. The Deseret News wrote at the time that “an inventory search of the vehicle… found two containers of alcohol (one was empty) and a ‘THC vape pen’ in the center console.”
Tuesday, however, it was reported that the Utah County Attorney had decided earlier in the month that Ah You wouldn’t be prosecuted. Since then, speculation was that the linebacker may have gotten preferential treatment because of his status as a BYU football player.
Monday, the Utah County Attorney, David Leavitt, clarified that the reason for the charges being dropped was because of an improper arrest.
From the Provo Daily Herald:
The police on the street are doing their very best to ensure our safety,” Leavitt said. “They arrest or cite an individual, fill out a report and send it to our office. We trust our law enforcement but to say that anyone is right on every occasion would be foolish. Chaz Ah You was arrested for reckless driving. Reckless driving is not an arrestable offense in the state of Utah. It is a citable offense.”
The inventory search that discovered two containers of alcohol, one partially full and one empty, as well as a THC vape pen in Ah You’s vehicle became suppressible evidence because Ah You should not have been arrested in the first place.
The sobriety tests that were administered after the arrest at the Utah County Jail should also not have taken place.
“When you are stopped and the search becomes inventory to that arrest, if there is no basis to search the vehicle, then there is no basis to charge because that is suppressible evidence,” Leavitt said. “Field sobriety tests are critical in determining whether to prosecute for DUI. But the field sobriety tests were performed as the result of an arrest that was for a citation that was a non-arrestable citation.”
He added that things like smelling alcohol or marijuana would have then made the search evidence admissible because the officer would’ve had specific probable cause to search the vehicle.
Leavitt also stated that the arresting officer actually followed Ah You for seven miles (!) before pulling him over. The deputy in question has subsequently been reassigned and is no longer working in patrol.
In addressing the speculation about Ah You’s status as a BYU football player, Leavitt said that didn’t play a role in his office’s decision.
“Whether you are a bricklayer from Salem or a football player at BYU, you get the same treatment,” Leavitt told the Daily Herald. “People will say that he got off because he was a BYU football player. That’s just not the case. We looked at the facts and the decision was intended to protect us all.”
As a true freshman, Ah You played in seven games. He went on an LDS mission following that season, a mission that ended prematurely because of what were described as unspecified medical reasons.
In 2019, Ah You appeared in 11 games. His 5½ tackles for loss were tops on the Cougars. His three pass breakups were tied for fourth on the team as well.
Ah You was suspended for all of spring practice because of the arrest. It remains to be seen what impact this development will have on his availability for the upcoming season.
In early June of last year, BYU wide receiver Neil Pau’u was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and interference with a traffic control device. In August, head coach Kalani Sitake confirmed that, while Pau’u would remain a part of the team, the wide receiver would not play at all for BYU during the 2019 season.